April showers bring the flowers for springtime, a promising time of year for residents of Wisconsin. Yet with the springtime rains and thaw from that last bit of winter ice comes the residual problems of dampness. The higher concentration of humidity and dampness in the air provides the perfect conditions for mold growth in the home. Mold in the home is not just a cleaning inconvenience; it can cause a host of health issues for homeowners. Once mold is present in a home, its microscopic spores can spread easily throughout the home, and immediate action is required to ensure healthy air quality and living conditions.

Tiny mold spores are all around us this time of year, and the only way to control their invasion of the home is to control the indoor moisture. While these spores need the right moisture, temperature and material to grow on, the easiest to control for indoor environments is the moisture. Whole house humidifiers are a year-round solution to moisture control issues for the home. In the winter, they protect the home from the ravages of cold, dry, winter air and their effect on the natural materials. However, when it comes to mold, added measures in the home are necessary to ensure air purification.

Air purifiers are an excellent solution to extracting air spores from the air before they can be breathed in. Depending on the systems, air purifiers should be placed in rooms where the most amount of time is spent, particularly bedrooms. HEPA filters are particularly effective at removing airborne spores because it is a dry, sterile environment.

During unusually damp seasons and high mold growth conditions, many people without diagnosed allergies feel the affect of their presence. Allergic reactions to molds are generally in the form of a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, rashes and other symptoms associated with colds or hay fever. Unusually high levels of mold spores will produce these same reactions, particularly with infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Additionally, some molds are potentially toxic, causing more severe health issues.

Since mold is a part of our natural environment, its removal in entirety is not possible. Regularly cleaning filters and disinfecting visible growth areas should be a regular practice. Any areas exposed to regular dampness, such as bathrooms and showers in particular, should be regularly disinfected to remove any signs of mold growth. Other areas susceptible to water damage, such as basements, kitchens and around windows should be regularly inspected. Musty odors in any rooms and in carpeting may also be a tell-tale sign.

While mold has a purpose in nature, its presence in your home is damaging. If the spores land on moist surfaces they will reproduce rapidly. Taking measures this spring to ensure mold does not have the right environment for growth will protect you and your home.